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Sussex Board votes to remove spray irrigation condition for Allen Harim's deboning facility

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Poultry producer Allen Harim got one step closer to launching its Millsboro deboning facility Monday.

The Sussex County Board of Appeals approved the facility in March provided Allen Harim install a spray irrigation system for treated wastewater before moving forward.

Allen Harim appealed the condition the same day and indicated at a previous hearing the permit process could push back the start date by up to two years.

The board voted four to zero at Monday’s hearing in favor of removing the condition.

Now, the board says, Allen Harim must apply for the appropriate permits with DNREC to either implement spray irrigation or truck the wastewater to be treated at its processing facility in Harbeson.

Keith Steck is a Sussex County resident with the group Keep Our Wells Clean. He says he does not want to see Allen Harim doing either of those things.

“It still comes down to the basic question of whether or not that wastewater is going to contaminate nearby drinking wells and that question is still not resolved,” said Steck.

Steck says he’s concerned Allen Harim may intend to include sewage along with the chicken waste to either be trucked away or sprayed onto nearby fields. He says the Division of Public Health should have been involved with the decision.

“They should be talking to the Office of Drinking Water and the Division of Public Health on the issue of what the impact would be on drinking wells nearby, and they’re not discussing it with them as far as I know,” he said.

Steck says he believes further public hearings will be held as Allen Harim goes through the permit process with DNREC.

In a previous interview with Delaware Public Media, an Allen Harim spokesperson indicated the company intended to truck wastewater until a spray irrigation system is installed.

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